Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Being half Swedish myself, it's not a surprise that my parents took me to the Swedish Art Institute, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when I was young.  But it was a surprise to see an exhibit about an illustrator of one of my favorite childhood books, THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY.  The illustrator was Gustaf Tenggren, a Swedish immigrant to the United States who began his career with Disney studios, working on the film SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS.  He also contributed to BAMBI, THE UGLY DUCKLING, HIAWATHA, AND FANTASIA.  But his greatest influence is seen in PINOCCHIO, where his contributions include the design and detail of the backgrounds and overall look of the movie.

He left Disney in 1939 to illustrate books for children.  He worked for The Golden Press during the '40's and '50's and illustrated the world's most printed book ever, written by Janette Sebring Lowry:  which one?  Yes! THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY (it has sold nearly 50 million copies since 1942)!!  He did several others that I also read and loved as a child:  THE SAGGY BAGGY ELEPHANT, THE TAWNY SCRAWNY LION, THUMBELINA, SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED, and many more that you can see if you CLICK HERE.

Anyone who has read the POKY LITTLE PUPPY will smile at the first sentence:  "Five little puppies dug a hole in the fence and went for a walk in the wide, wide, world."  Four of the puppies return, except Poky, who, instead of following his siblings home, lags behind to see the creatures that are on the hill - which Tenggren draws in beautiful detail:  flowers, a brown hop-toad, a big black spider.  "Now where in the world is that Poky Little Puppy?"

At first, his mother doesn't realize he hasn't come home, so he doesn't receive the punishment that his siblings do.  But in the end, after several escapes, fate catches up to him, and the Poky Little Puppy is sent to bed with no strawberry shortcake.

"No desserts ever unless puppies never dig holes under this fence again!"


1 comment:

  1. I have this exact book on my shelf! Thanks for the history! makes it even more special!